Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 3/30/12
ST. PAUL, Minn. Like many players in the NHL these days, Minnesota Wild defenseman Tom Gilbert wears a shield on his helmet to protect his eyes. Imagine his surprise when Gilbert found a stick pressed up against his face during Thursday's night's game. In the third period, Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg swiped at a loose puck and his stick caught Gilbert, who was skating in front of him. The stick lodged in Gilbert's helmet, giving the Wild player an unexpected ornament. The incident happened so fast that Gilbert didn't even know what had happened. "That is a first," the 29-year-old said Friday. "I didn't know what was going on to be honest with you. I thought a stick went through my visor or something." Gilbert immediately went to the ground with the stick protruding from his helmet but wasn't injured. Shaken, Gilbert got to his knees, the stick going across his face diagonally with his nose pressed up against the shaft. He was able to take his helmet off, and a member of the team's staff pried the stick free as the game was delayed for only a few minutes. Versteeg was called for a high-sticking penalty. "I don't even know to be honest with you," Gilbert said of the length of the stoppage. "I am sure it was awhile because I couldn't get my helmet unstrapped. I couldn't even find it." Sarah Servetnick contributed to this story. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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